"Who was she?" Chelsea asked after Molly had gone.
"A friend," Jake said shortly. It was all he could do not to run after her. God, how could this have happened? He had no idea what to do. Well, he decided, Molly was gone and probably needed time to calm down. So for now, he would deal with Chelsea.
"A good friend?" Chelsea raised an eyebrow.
"What did you want to talk about?" Jake went into the kitchen.
"I wanted to talk about us, Jacob," Chelsea said.
He pulled out a beer, offered her one. Frowning, she shook her head. I forgot
, Jake thought idly, Chelsea doesn't drink anything as pedestrian as beer.
"What about us, Chelsea?" he asked after taking a long pull. "There isn't an 'us' anymore, remember? You were pretty clear about that."
"Yes," she said. "Yes, I was."
"And?" He stared at her, waiting.
She averted her eyes from his. "I thought about it. I was wrong. I want to try again."
"Try again," he repeated. "Try what again?"
"Us, Jacob." She came over and laid a hand on his arm. "I shouldn’t have left like that. I was just…pulled in so many directions. My priorities were wrong, and I did the wrong thing."
Jake pondered her words as he walked into the living room. Something didn’t feel right about what she was saying, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Maybe there was nothing wrong; maybe he was just being overly suspicious. Maybe he was reading things into her words and voice that weren't there.
Chelsea came out and sat on the couch, waiting for him to say something.
"You said we had different priorities," Jake said, looking out the window. "Are they suddenly aligned?"
"I was kind of hoping so," she said. She took a deep breath. "I'm pregnant, Jake."
"That's what she said?" Cam demanded. "Just 'I'm pregnant,' nothing else?"
"What else is there to say?" Jake asked him. "It's pretty cut and dried." It had been a week since Chelsea had dropped the news. He had thought about it for days before telling Cam. He'd been a little worried about Cam's reaction, but once Cam got past the initial sock, Jake was sure he'd be able to help.
"Don't take this the wrong way," said Cam, "but is it yours?"
Jake shrugged. "I don't know. I haven't asked her yet."
"What? Are you nuts?" Cam stared at him.
"There's something going on," Jake said, "and I'm not entirely sure what it is. But I can't just abandon her, Cam, even if it's not mine. Two years is a fair amount of history to have with a person. And I will find out," he assured his friend. "You and I have both seen too many cases like this. I'll definitely get a paternity test done."
"Well, that's something, anyway."
"How's Molly?" Jake asked quietly. He had called the next day, as he'd promised, but Molly hadn't answered. During the week, Jake debated calling again, but never did. But he so badly wanted to talk to her, to see her.
"She's all right, I guess," said Cam. "She won't talk about it, not even to Maddy."
"I wish I knew what to say to her," Jake said. "This whole thing is just so screwed up."
"Do you love her?" Cam asked. Jake stared at him.
"Do you love Molly?" Cam repeated. "Because I'm pretty damn sure she loves you."
"I think I do," Jake said, "but how could I tell her that now? What good would it do? I don't even know if she'd believe me, and I wouldn't blame her if she didn't."
"That would be up to you," said Cam. "But if I had a girl who loved me and a girl I wasn't sure about, I know who I'd pick."
Jake grabbed the mail and continued on to the elevator. Nothing had gotten any better in the last few days, and Cam had found out a few things about Chelsea. There was nothing illegal, and a lot was hearsay, but it appeared that Chelsea was running low on money. Extremely low.
He heard Chelsea come in, talking on her cell phone. He remained quiet, trying to analyze what he knew.
"Yes, I've told him," he heard Chelsea say. "It looks like he believes me." There was silence for a moment. "Well, I can't exactly prove it, can I?" Another pause. "We have a couple of months before anybody asks questions. I can hold him off for that long."
Jake narrowed his eyes. He wondered who she was talking to, and what exactly it all meant. It didn’t take a rocket scientist, however, to deduce that the whole pregnancy issue was some kind of ruse. A lie. He stood up and got a glass of water, mostly to make some noise.
"He's here. I have to go." He heard Chelsea end the conversation. "Hi, sweetie." Chelsea gave him a bright smile as she walked into the kitchen. "How was your day?"
"Busy." He shrugged. "Yours?"
"Same old," she said. "Hungry? I haven't eaten yet."
"Sure," he said. "Let's go out."
They sat at a table in a small Italian restaurant. It had been a favorite place when they'd dated before. It had been just unique enough for Chelsea to decide she liked it. It wasn’t very pricey, but the atmosphere made it feel like something special, exclusive. Jake remembered coming for special occasions: an anniversary, celebrating Cam's wedding, toasting the opening of his and Cam's law office.
The server took their orders, stepped away, and returned with two glasses of wine. As Chelsea started to sip, Jake asked, "Should you have that? Isn't it bad for the baby?"
She jerked, spilling a few drops. "Oh." She recovered, a little too quickly. "The doctor said a little wouldn’t hurt, at least not right now." She brought the glass to her lips and drank some, almost defiantly.
"Who's your doctor?" Jake asked. "Or I could get the name of my sister-in-law's, she and my brother were happy with hers when she was pregnant."
"I, um, I'll have to get the card." Chelsea tapped her fingers nervously against the stem of her glass. "It's a new practice, I've only been there once before."
"Let me know when you make your appointment. I'll go with you."
"You don't have to do that." Chelsea was flustered. "I know how busy you are."
The conversation paused as the server brought their food. Chelsea took advantage to drink a little more wine. Jake watched her calmly, disappointed but not angry. She couldn't meet his eyes.
"You aren't pregnant, are you?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean you aren't pregnant," he said. "I don't know what you're playing at, but I know you're lying about this whole thing."
"No, Jacob, I—"
"I can tell, Chelsea," he cut her off, and now he was angry. "At first, I believed every word you said. But I'm not stupid, and you're lying. Now, what's going on?"
She took a deep breath to reassert herself, allowed a few tears to show. "I don't know why you'd say such a thing, Jacob. I assure you, I am pregnant."
"How far along?" he demanded.
"I…I…don’t know exactly." She sipped at the wine again. "Around two months, I guess."
"Convenient," he said. She started to answer, then closed her mouth. "So, how many months were you going to hold me off for?" She paled. "I heard you when you were on the phone," he told her.
She was quiet for several minutes, glancing from her hands to the table to the walls, but never at him.
"It's all gone, Jake." All pretenses gone, she took a deep drink of wine.
"What do you mean, 'all gone?' What's gone?"
"The money." Chelsea sat back and crossed her arms over her chest. "My family's broke, Jake. Dad's company went under, then Mom and Dad put all their money in some ridiculous scheme and now everything's gone."
"I'm sorry." He was puzzled. "But what does that have to do with you lying to me?"
"I wanted security," she said simply. "I always liked you, Jacob. Very much. I looked around, saw I didn't have many options, and came back to you. I thought if we got back together, perhaps things would work out and we'd get married."
"Are you serious?" He let out a short laugh. "There's irony—you marrying me for money."
Chelsea shrugged and drank more wine. Then she tilted her head and looked at him. "Would it be so bad, Jake? I mean, come on, we had good times. It might not be the most romantic reason for getting married, but not everyone finds their soul mate."
Jake stared at the wine glass in his hand. Not everyone found a soul mate, that was true; but he might have been one of the lucky ones. He raised his eyes to hers. "I will not marry you, Chelsea. I don't love you. We'd both be miserable. And I could never trust you." Such a life would be drab, he realized; colorless.
Chelsea looked angry. "I was never unfaithful to you, Jacob, never."
"I never said you were. But you lied." He had a sudden inspiration. "You took my father's things, didn't you? My God, were you so hard up you had to steal from me?" His eyes blazed.
"I had to pay some debts," she snapped. "I was embarrassed. I didn't want to tell you. So yes, I took those things, and I'm sorry."
"You could have asked me for money, Chelsea. I would have given it to you. I'm not heartless." The anger was rapidly fading, replaced by something like pity.
"I know. I know. In fact, I guess…" she looked away. "I guess that's what I was counting on, in a way. You're not heartless. I couldn’t think of any other way to get you to even consider this…so I told you I was pregnant."
"And in what, two or three months, you were going to have a miscarriage?" Jake shook his head. "Christ, Chelsea, how could you do that to me? How could you do this at all?"
"Because I'm scared!" She looked at him with a mixture of defiance and anger. "I don't know how to do anything. I didn't go to college for a career, I went for a husband. I didn't find one there, obviously." She shrugged. "I need someone to take care of me."
"So you'd trick me into marriage? When I don't love you, and you don't love me?" He stared at her. "That's so twisted, I can't begin to tell you."
"I'm scared, Jacob," Chelsea said again. She met his eyes and he saw the truth of it.
"I'm sorry for that," he said, "I really am. But I can't help you. I don't love you and I won't marry you, Chelsea."
"I guess I knew it wouldn’t work." She seemed vaguely disappointed but not in the least sorry. "But I didn't know what else to do."
"I can't help you there," Jake said, but gently. "That's something you have to figure out for yourself. Now, I'm sorry, but I have to go."
Molly ran a hand through her hair, wondering who could be at the door. Maybe it was Maddy, she thought, and then felt badly. Maddy had been trying to get her over for dinner, to try to cheer her up, and Molly kept putting her off. Well, she'd call her tomorrow, Molly decided, and accept. It was ridiculous. She could be friends with Maddy and Cam, and even with Jake. But she hoped the first time they got together, Jake wouldn’t be there.
"Coming, coming," she called as she pulled out of her thoughts and went to the door. That was bad, she decided, getting lost on the way to your own front door. From the inside of a two-bedroom apartment.
"Jake." She was so surprised to see him she couldn’t think of anything else to say.
"Hi, Molly." God, she looked beautiful, he thought. Blue barrettes with silver accents held her golden hair back from her face. The barrettes brought out her eyes. As soon as he saw her, things seemed brighter.
"Come…come in," she said, stepping back. Don’t hope, don’t hope, she thought to herself. If he broke her heart again she wasn't sure she could take it.
"Thanks." He waited while she closed the door, and followed her as she walked aimlessly to the living room.
"I, um…" Molly tried to say something but there was nothing there. It was funny, she thought, how she used to ramble on in front him. Now she couldn't think of anything to say.
"I love you, Molly," Jake said, "and I'm sorry."
"What?" she asked, afraid she hadn't heard him properly.
"I love you." He put his hands on her shoulders. "I'm sorry things happened the way they did. It was confusing all around, but I shouldn't have let you leave like that."
"But what about…what about Chelsea?" Molly's heart was racing and she tried to slow herself down.
"It was all a lie," he said. "It's a long story that I'll tell you about later, if you want me to. But it's all done, it's all over."
"You know," she said, twisting her hands nervously, "that night, I came over…I wanted to tell you…"
"What?" He took her hands in his to still them. "What did you want to tell me?"
Molly took a deep breath and looked up at him. "That I love you."
"Say it again, please," he said, tightening his grip on her hans.
"I love you, Jake," she said. "I wanted to tell you but I was afraid, and then when I decided I would, I—"
Jake cut her off with a kiss, and Molly sank into it with no questions. "I'm sorry, Molly," he said when he at last broke the kiss. He rested his forehead against hers. "I'm sorry I was so scared. I kept telling myself I was afraid to hurt you, but I was afraid I'd get hurt. I'm sorry."
"I won't hurt you," she said, brushing her lips against his. "I love you."
"Once more, just say it once more," he murmured, wrapping his arms around her. "Tell me again while I'm making love to you."
"I love you," she whispered, and the rest was lost as he crushed her to him.
"Are you working tomorrow?" he asked as they tumbled onto the bed. He found the edge of her shirt and lifted it swiftly off.
"Not until the afternoon," she said as she unbuttoned his shirt, touching her lips to the exposed skin. He shuddered. "How about you?"
"I'm taking the morning off." He kissed her again, but this time gently, as if he had all the time in the world. His hands weren't still, smoothly sliding the rest of her clothes and then his to the floor.
"Oh, God, Jake," she murmured. "I missed you so much." She glided her hands over his shoulders, then ran her fingers through his soft, dark hair.
"I missed you, too." He trailed kisses to her shoulder. She shivered as he nipped at the crook of her neck. "All the color drained away when you walked out the door," he told her, moving to look into her eyes. "I hated to see that."
"I hated to go," she said, blinking back tears. A few escaped, and Jake chased them with his lips. "I didn't know what else to do."
"Neither did I," he said, "but now I do." He bent his head to catch her mouth again, then used his hands and lips to make her gasp and arch against him. How he'd missed that. He'd missed everything about her body. Even before finding out about the lie, he'd had absolutely no desire to touch Chelsea. Now his hands itched to touch every part of Molly.
His hands slid over her breasts, along her hips, and he found the slick warmth that made him groan with desire. "Tell me, Molly, please," he said, stroking her gently, watching her give in to the pleasure. She tensed and then quivered against him, and he laid gentle kisses along her cheek as she recovered.
"I love you, Jake," she said when she opened her eyes again. "So much."
"I love you, too." He thrust gently inside her, relishing every sensation. He said it over and over, until they were too breathless to speak. He murmured her name once more as he held her tightly and came, distantly hearing her say his name as she clung to his shoulders.
He kept her close as they lay in bed, exchanging light kisses and gentle touches.
"I'm so glad I found you," he said.
"Me, too," she said, her voice tinged with sleep.
"Everything was so gray, before," he murmured. "I was overdue for a rainbow. Now I have you."
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with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/love-stories/silver-blue-and-gold-ch-05.aspx">Silver, Blue and Gold Ch 05</a>